2024 Polestar 4 Review

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2024 Polestar 4 Review



Overview

 

HOT on the heels of its first-ever SUV, the Polestar 3, comes another first for the Sino-Swedish electric vehicle brand: the Polestar 4.

 

This upper medium segment five-seat coupe-SUV will be priced from $81,500 plus on-road costs when it goes on sale Down Under next month (August).

 

The Polestar 4 will take on rivals including the BMW iX3 (from $89,100), Mercedes-Benz EQC (from $87,734) and ubiquitous Tesla Model Y (from $65,400), as well as more mainstream entrants like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (from $65,000), Kia EV6 (from $72,590), Subaru Solterra (from $69,990) and Toyota bZ4X (from $66,000) all excluding on roads.

 

It will be offered in rear- and all-wheel drive formats with single- and dual-motor propulsion. The former offers up 200kW and 343Nm and a range of up to 610km (WLTP), while the latter – and the subject of this review – provides 400kW and 686Nm and a driving range of 580km (WLTP).

 

In performance terms, that makes the Polestar 4 the fastest the brand has yet to offer with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.8 seconds.

 

Power is from a 100kWh battery pack in both models with up to 22kW (AC) and 200kW (DC) charging available. Bi-directional charging hardware is included with V2L functionality to be made available later.

 

A heat pump is fitted as standard to allow the Polestar 4 to capitalise on ambient heat when preconditioning the cabin and battery.

 

A disconnect clutch on the dual-motor version allows disengagement of the front electric motor when not needed, to maximise range and efficiency. A drive optimisation function allows the driver to select between Range or Performance driving modes.

 

Polestar says the 4 delivers control and confidence offering an enjoyable daily drive experience accentuated by a 50:50 (front-to-rear) weight distribution and semi-active suspension on the dual motor model.

 

It rolls on alloy wheels ranging in size from 20- to 22 inches in diameter with tyres supplied by Pirelli and Michelin, depending on configuration.

 

With no rear window the Polestar 4 uses a video-style rear-view camera and nifty 360-degree camera system for close-confine manoeuvring.

 

The systems are further complemented by a bank of cameras and sensors in the front grille that allow the vehicle a long list of standard SuperVision ADAS features – eventually facilitating full self-driving capabilities – and high-grade infotainment and connectivity services.

 

The Polestar 4 dashboard features an Android-powered infotainment system (with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity) and the latest Snapdragon processing power all accessed via a 15.4-inch landscape-oriented touchscreen.

 

With Google built-in, including Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play, the Polestar 4 is nothing if not connected, the system topped with an optional Harman Kardon audio system with 12 speakers and 1400-watt channel-hybrid amplifier.

 

Over-the-air (OTA) updates allow for new features and improvements to be sent remotely to all Polestar vehicles, removing the need to visit a workshop to gain the latest software.

 

Striking to look at, the Polestar 4 is on the Geely-developed Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) platform and measures 4840mm in length, 2139mm in width, and 1534mm in height while riding on a 2999mm wheelbase.

 

The dimensions amplify a feeling of space inside the car particularly in the electrically reclinable rear seat area enhanced by selectable ambient lighting.

 

The 4 has a full-size glass roof enhanced in the second row by a media and climate control screen mounted between the front seats.

 

Sustainable, traceable materials are used throughout the Polestar 4 which can be specified with bio-attributed MicroTech – that replaces a petroleum-based PVC with a sustainable pine-oil based PVC – Mist Tailored Knit textile that uses 100 per cent recycled PET bottles, or even responsibly sourced Nappa leather, all precisely shaped to fit the seats without waste.

 

Driving Impressions

 

Driving a pre- or early production car is always something of a double-edged sword. While it is terrific to gain early access to a vehicle, the experience is one that must be tempered with the fact the vehicles driven are not always reflective of their final specification.

 

And so it was with the Polestar 4… Despite being so very close to production-ready, the evaluation vehicles sampled at the international launch featured a mismatched combination of suspension components and software that delivered a less-than-ideal impression of the cars we can expect to drive Down Under.

 

Polestar explained that the vehicles made available to media in Spain combined both Chinese-market and rest-of-world hardware components and software and steering tuning. In particular, the shock absorbers and top mounts were Chinese spec, with the remainder of the arrangement to EU specification.

 

The reasons for the mismatch were simply a matter of part availability in the lead up to the car’s global launch and an unexpected irregularity in the updating of the steering software, Polestar says.

 

Polestar assured us the EU specification will be standard in Australian-delivered cars, ensuring the “less than precise steering feel” and “comfort-oriented” damping feel would not clash with the firmer spring rates and steering tune otherwise offered.

 

With all that said, our drive impressions are likely not reflective of the final product. We’ll look forward to reporting back on any changes when the vehicle is launched Down Under.

 

Like all EVs of its size, the Polestar 4 is something of a heavy vehicle – even more so than the Tesla Model Y. It is quick, sure. But there is always a sense that there is significant unsprung mass that must be curtailed so as not to affect the way a car handles, loads up (either when cornering or under braking), reacts and stops.

 

When you consider the role rear suspension mounts play in influencing steering feel, as Polestar so aptly put it, then it is perhaps no surprise that the Polestar 4’s handling was a little off.

 

The car’s response from straight ahead would at times lag before committing to a change in direction, while on return to straight ahead, would ‘snap’ quickly back to a zero position, particularly when combined with a healthy prod of the throttle. It’s a far less fluid response than we noted in our review of the Polestar 3, which we reinforce here was a highlight.

 

Softer damping under firmer springs tends to result in poorer wheel control, or simply, a ‘bouncey’ ride. It also means the suspension will not ‘recover’ in adequate time to work as intended at the next input, which affects not only ride but traction as well.

 

The Polestar 4 was something of a lead-tipped arrow on winding roads, something we’ll be keen to see if the right suspension and steering addresses.

 

Fortunately, Madrid’s billiard table smooth roads tended to mask the issue well, the handling attributes more obvious that those of the ride. The smooth surface also helped to mute any tyre noise which will likely be shown when the vehicle arrives in Oz.

 

One thing is certain, it is far quieter than the Polestar 3.

 

Power delivery is expectedly smooth and rapid, and appreciably quiet. There is no synthesised sound pumped through the speakers and no annoying motor whine at freeway speeds.

 

We found it easy to summon more pace when climbing hills and overtaking, proving the Polestar 4 is no one-trick pony. Acceleration is plentiful, irrespective of road speed, which really adds to the enjoyment of the drive.

 

Of course, it’s possible to adjust the damping and steering response of the Polestar 4, giving the experience a level of personality we found quite useful in the varied scenarios sampled in Madrid.

 

There’s a setting for comfortable around-town driving (Standard), one for winding mountain roads (Nimble), and even one for fast-lane cruising (Firm). We can’t wait to sample these in further detail when the suspension and steering is finally sorted…

 

Which we guess is the caveat that shrouds this entire review. As much as we loved the styling, spaciousness and straightforward operation of the Polestar 4, the final verdict is one that will have to wait.

 

With every other element of the car so finely finessed, we hope this story has a happy ending – and look forward to reporting back when it does.

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